The architecture of ancient Greece is represented by buildings in the
sanctuaries and cities of mainland Greece, the Aegean islands, southern
Italy and Sicily, and the Ionian coast of Turkey. Monumental Greek
architecture began in the archaic period, flourished through the classical
and Hellenistic periods, and saw the first of many revivals during the
Roman Empire. The roots of Greek architecture lie in the tradition of local
Bronze Age house and palaces. The following paper will cover the basic
forms of Greek architecture.
One of the many types of Greek building structures was Sacred
Architecture. The Greeks conceived of their gods in human form, as
anthropomorphic representations of the forces and elements of the natural
world. These gods and goddesses were worshiped with sacrifices made at an
outdoor altar. At many sanctuaries, the altar was much older than the
temple, and some sanctuaries had only an altar. The temple designed simply
as a shelter or home for the cult statue and as a storehouse for offerings.
This shelter consisted of a cella (back wall), a pronaos (columned porch),
an opisthodomus (enclosure), an antae (bronze grills securing the porches),
and a colonnade that provided shelter for visitors.
The earliest monumental buildings in Greek architecture were the
temples. Since these were solidly built and carefully maintained, they had
to be replaced only if destroyed. The architectural orders, Doric on the
mainland and Ionic in the eastern Aegean, were developed in the archaic
temples, and their lasting example tended to make Greek architecture
conservative toward changes in design or in building technology.
The Archaic period evolv...
... middle of paper ...
exterior Corinthinan columns, such as the colossal temple of Zeus Olympius
in Athens, begun in 174 BCE. In the Ionic order, Hermogenes of Priene
evolved new canons of proportion concerning the temple plan and the height
and spacing of columns. His writings were also passed down to Roman
architects who emulated his designs. Long after the Roman army captured
Athens, the principles of Greek architecture continued to govern building
designs in mainland Greece and in Anatolia and strongly influenced Roman
architecture throughout the empire.
Greek architecture changed and evolved over a number of years. The
creative architecture of the Greeks led to the construction of some of the
best known buildings in history. Therefore, the Greek's advancements in the
field of architecture were not only beneficial to their civilizations, but
ours as well.
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